Memorial service held for illegal immigrants in Goliad wreck
GOLIAD - Fifteen white candles flickered in the evening glow of a memorial service at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday night.
A label was taped to each, naming the deceased person it represented.
The candles were burned on behalf a group of illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico who died last month in a one-vehicle wreck in Goliad on U.S. Highway 59 near Berclair.
"These people came from far away to make a better life for themselves from what they knew," back home, said the Rev. Ralph Baidoo, who led the memorial service.
Tears were shed and prayers were offered on behalf of the deceased and the eight who were injured in the wreck.
Each of the 23 passengers in the 2000 Ford F-250 were in the process of being smuggled from Mexico en route Houston.
"The way that it happened, it was just so sad," said Sarita Martinez, who also attended the funeral service for Juana Tiniguar-Aguilar, 17, who was killed in the wreck, earlier in the day. "I went by the memorial site where the wreck happened ... and I've prayed for them every day."
Martinez was among about 50 people who attended the service honoring those involved in the wreck.
Baidoo encouraged the mourners to remember how richly they are blessed. He reminded the crowd to not take their residency in the United States for granted.
"What you and I take for granted in this country is an attraction for them. This is an occasion to do some soul searching to be humble and have gratitude for what we have," he said. "If the death of these 15 serves to remind us of that, then they did not die in vain."